"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: the fighter

Pugilistic Linguistics

Here’s Gelf Magazine’s interview with George Kimball:

Gelf Magazine: Boxing continues to enjoy cinematic minting—latest in The Fighter—even as it loses luster as an American spectacle, or as the career of choice for young and hungry athletes. How do you explain this dichotomy?

George Kimball: Don’t even get me started on The Fighter. I covered pretty much Micky Ward’s entire career. I’d have been much more comfortable with the film if they’d just changed the names and presented it as a work of fiction. There are so many things in the movie that didn’t happen, or at least didn’t happen the way they claimed they happened, and so many actual aspects of Micky’s career—the three Gatti fights, for instance—that did happen but aren’t in the movie that it was fraudulent, in my view. It was at the very least bad history. Claiming it was a true story, or even “based on a true story,” is ridiculous. The worst part of it is that most moviegoers now think Micky actually did win a world title—the welterweight title, yet—in the Shea Neary fight. To me, the most salient aspect of Ward’s career was the fact that he is so universally respected as a blue-collar, blood-and-guts fighter despite the fact that he lost the only world-title fight he was ever in.

Kimball and Thomas Hauser will be speaking at Varsity Letters tomorrow night in the Village.

Million Dollar Movie

“The Fighter” comes with the usual boxing movie cliches, both in and out of the ring. There is one fight sequence that looks ripped out of “Raging Bull” but only one (perhaps it was an homage). And there are a couple of scenes with Christian Bale, and one with Mark Wahlberg, that made me wince. But these cliches are minor and in no way disturbed my enjoyment of what I think is a rousing movie.

Wahlberg plays a passive character and has the right brand of natural understatement to make his performance convincing. Christian Bale is featured in the showier role, and I generally dislike this kind of character and performance but I thought he was believable. The women rule the movie, though, especially Melissa Leo and Amy Adams. And David O. Russell directs with his usual flair, his eye for the telling detail, and his sharp sense of humor.

I thought “The Fighter” was really funny. The score was great. Nothing too deep but a good picture of the boxing life. A simple story well told.

On that note, let’s kill the Beat of the Day while we’re at it:

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver